An Overview of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

The success rate of spine surgery varies greatly and is often the last option of treatment when all other non-surgical treatments fail to cure the condition of patients.  Also known as back surgery, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery is not for all. Suppose you are experiencing back pain, and the diagnosis indicates that only some surgical procedure could effectively treat the condition. In that case, you might consider undergoing Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery or MIS. For more information, visit Dr. Juris Shibayama website.

What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery is fast gaining popularity over open spine surgery because it is safer and faster, ensuring a quick recovery. Since the surgeon creates an incision of only about 1-2 inches to perform the procedure compared to the incision size of 5-6 inches for traditional spine surgery, it causes less trauma of the soft tissues and muscles and less blood loss. MIS procedures are outpatient procedures performed in any day clinic, and the patient can go back home in the evening.

The procedure

MIS spine surgery is a less painful and less disruptive surgical solution for many surgical disorders and spinal deformities like scoliosis, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal infections and tumors, lumbar spinal stenosis, vertebral compression fractures, and conditions of instability triggered by spondylolisthesis. To access the vertebrae, discs, and spinal nerves located deep inside the body, surgeons must remove the muscle tissues.

As opposed to creating deep incisions to reach the area, the MIS surgeon makes much smaller incisions that cause less pain and blood loss and uses a variety of small precision instruments, including microscopic video cameras, to view the area and perform the procedure with high accuracy. The surgeon uses only small instruments and tools to perform the procedure and reduce trauma but never uses a laser, as many would believe.

MIS surgery treatment options

Common spinal surgical treatments performed using the MIS technique are Spinal decompression, Discectomy, and Transformational Lumbar Interbody fusion (TLIF).

Spinal decompression – A common condition treated by MIS is the narrowing of the spinal canal known as Spinal stenosis that compresses the nerves and causes pain and numbness of some body parts besides weakening muscles. By performing MIS surgery, the surgeon removes the soft tissues and bone that compress the nerves. The surgeon inserts a microscope and a camera or endoscope through the small incision to locate the affected area and decompresses the spinal passage using tubular dilators.

Discectomy – Spinal discs placed along the vertebrae are elastic rings containing some soft material to produce the cushioning effect. When the discs lose their elasticity, they can push out the soft tissues from inside the rings and cause pain due to compression of the nerves.  Surgeons can trim or remove the herniated discs by using the MIS procedure.

Transformational Lumbar Interbody fusion (TLIF) – The procedure is ideal for treating recurrent disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, and pain caused by spondylolysthesis. The surgeon makes two small incisions on the back and places rods and screws between a few vertebral levels. A cage filled with bone fills the void created by the removal of the intervertebral disc.

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